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Fag gags

Due to the high risk of an embarrassing misunderstanding here, I think it behoves me to start off by advising our American readers that, in Britain, the word ‘fags’ is a slang term for ‘cigarettes’. It is not generally perceived as having anything to do with homosexual men.

And this is important because cigarettes are no longer just ‘fags’ or even ‘smokes’. Now, they are symbols of defiance as well.

For the past two decades or so, tobacco manufacturers have been forced to print hectoring health warnings on cigarette packets. But now, due to a directive from Brussels (where else?) manufacturers are required cover at least half the space on both the front and rear of the packet with even more lurid warnings. It is the kind of useless, paternalistic gesture that enables the European political classes to posture self-righteously at someone else’s expense.

At last, though, someone is fighting back in the form of a website called ‘Fake Fags’ through which you can purchase waggishly irreverent stickers to cover up the politically-mandated health warnings on your cigarette pack.

It is a delicious act of subversion and, predictably, it has sent the reactionary health fascists into a blue funk:

Deborah Arnott of anti-smoking group ASH criticised the labels.

“These labels do not strike me as being funny,” she told BBC News Online.

Well they strike me as hilarious and I am very heartened that at least some of my compatriots are not prepared to throw in the towel just yet.

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15 comments to Fag gags

  • Stephen Hodgson

    I think these stickers are incredibly amusing. Health fascist groups such as ‘ASH’ need to start crediting people with a bit more common sense and intelligence if they seriously believe these stickers will persuade the public to suddenly start ignoring the over-publicised health warnings about smoking. That ‘ASH’ believe these stickers are “dangerous” illustrates quite clearly how little respect they have for individual choice and affirms their belief that people are incapable of making their own decisions based on the information available to them. ‘ASH’ should also realise that these stickers poke fun at the government’s pathetic, condescending health warnings – not the health risks associated with smoking tobacco products.

  • “Dude, trade you two lung tumors for your limp dick.”
    Tax dollars at work in the Canadian anti-smoking biz:
    “The full-color, picture-based warnings cover half of the front and back of each package of cigarettes. They include pictures of a diseased mouth, a lung tumor, a brain after a stroke, a damaged heart, and a limp cigarette that warns of impotence.”
    Canada has been using such packaging for couple of years, and two things immediately followed, according to my father (a high school teacher):
    First, exactly as you might imagine, kids were delighted and amused and traded those suckers like Yu-Gi-Oh cards (I hear the most popular was the “saggy cigarette” that was supposed to warn you smoking would have dire consequences on your sex life) and;
    Second, for those not interested in looking at the propaganda photos, a cottage industry sprang up within days that made attractive covers to slip over the packs.
    Score: Bureaucrats zero, citizens two. Heh, heh.

  • Toad

    It always amazes me how blind to history the health and moral nazis are. Back in the twenties they got the Volstad act past in the states(Prohibition). Drinking almost immediately became avant garde behaviour especially amongts the young. What did kids call cigarettes when I was lad? “Coffin nails.” “If you save a thousand cigarrete packs you can trade them for an iron lung.”
    Then again maybe they aren’t as dumb as I think. They may just be trying to create secure government jobs for themselves.

  • G Cooper

    David Carr quotes:

    “Deborah Arnott of anti-smoking group ASH criticised the labels.

    “These labels do not strike me as being funny,”‘

    I suppose this redfines ‘fag hag’?

    Isn’t it amazingly consistent how few Statists have anything even remotely recognisable as a sense of humour?

  • Beware those who possess not one microgram of humo(u)r, for they are dangerous beyond belief to all real living persons. Driven by pure jealousy of those who enjoy life and living, they seek to deprive those of us who do of the opportunity so to do.

    Misery loves company, and they certainly are doing their best to force us all to join them in their miserable, pinched, and bitter existences.

  • Toulson Caffrey

    Yes, I was going to mention that “fag-hag” is the one incidence where “fag” in the American sense has caught on in the UK. The male equivalent – “fruit fly” – hasn’t caught on anywhere unfortunately, but that’s a whole other show…

    Of course, the fact that these increasingly ludicrous warnings have started to attract ridicule from the British public has entirely passed the ASH-types by. The warnings are regularly mocked at after work boozing sessions, the pub table arrayed as it is with fag packets and mobile phones.

    Friday night was no exception when these stickers came up in conversation. The concept delighted smokers and non-smokers alike and a least one colleague is ordering a set. I can’t wait. I might even have to resort to buying cigarettes myself (instead of smoking OPs) so that I can join in.

  • S. Weasel

    Toren: so the Canadian government carried through on that, huh? Cracked me up when I saw the proposal. Anyone trying to make headway by grossing out kids is an idiot. Kids – the constituency that brings us dead baby and “what do you call a man with no arms and legs…?” jokes.

  • S. Weasel

    Incidentally, Mister Carr, we in the States don’t much mind if our British cousins wish to smoke fags…but would you please stop knocking us up in the morning? It’s getting tiresome.

    Thank you.

  • Amy Wolstenholme

    The notion that people just don’t know that cigarettes are bad for you, and so need ever increasingly large warnings, would be laughable if it weren’t just one more example of safety nazis trying to create a nanny state.

  • Julian Morrison

    Yanno, I’d be vastly suprised if someone who took up smoking now wouldn’t find that by the time they get ill, cloned-lung transplants, anticancer pills, or some such have become routine and trivial.

    Use em up, throw em out, buy a new set.

  • Liberty Belle

    Amy Wolstenholme – I disagree with your conclusion. The health nazis are establishing not so much a “nanny state” as that, while being 100% undesirable, implies that the government “cares” and is chiding us. That’s bad enough. But they are trying to establish thought control, which is worse.

  • Bethany

    “Smoking fags” means killing feminite homosexuals in American slang. It’s pretty funny.
    Bigger labels won’t help put an end to people’s ignorance that those things kill you.
    Darwinism will. And we’ll all be better for it.

  • Bethany: I think you mean “effeminate.” Nice misanthropic sentiment by the way: I guess none of your friends or close relatives smoke.

  • David Shadick

    Florida is 3 days into a smoking ban in bars and restaurants that do >10% of receipts as food. tensions are starting to run high, people smoking in bathrooms. It’s like I am in high school again, instead of a principle, a nanny state. I don’t smoke, but if I go to a bar, expect it.

  • Copy of our website, which was just a joke. http://www.smokingcures.com